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Leadership Equals Success: But How Do You Develop The Leaders?

Where would leadership development be without 360-degree feedback?

Nowhere, according to management consultant Anthony Saccone PH.D. "360 is the single best tool in the organizational development field. The common sense value is so compelling to business leaders that it is like gravity; who would argue that gravity exists?"

Boston-based Saccone, of Abrams Saccone Associates LLP, says that global competition for world class talent is so fierce that it has become a chief determinant of success. "The best company is the one that has the best talent and can accelerate its development faster than anyone else. And when someone is not performing at his or her best it is always more cost-effective to turn that performance around than to replace the individual."

It is also less risky to the organization—assuming of course that the organization is ready for 360.

"The process can be threatening to the management group," says Saccone. "And so the company has to be committed to creating higher levels of collaboration and empowerment, along with greater team orientation both vertically and horizontally."

Abrams Saccone clients typically start 360 at the head of the organization, with the CEO and President. "We recommend deploying the 360 process in waves, making sure that it is healthy and constructive from the top down," says Saccone.

After years of conducting 360 performance reviews with pencil, paper and spread-sheet analysis, Abrams Saccone were delighted to discover the Internet-based Panoramic Feedback 360.

"There's no doubt we needed an online instrument," says Saccone. "We use this system exclusively because it has complete flexibility to customize for clients at will. It is very user-friendly and the reports can be readily understood by the layperson."

Saccone also has high praise for Panoramic Feedback as a company. "The customer service is about the best I have ever experienced from a vendor," he says. "You can call and actually talk to people doing the programming and get a straight answer and a helpful response."

Add a reasonable price and continuous upgrades to the software and you have a winning formula. "Several times a year we are notified that they have made improvements to the system. I appreciate the fact that they listen to feedback and don't rest on their laurels."

Saccone says that awareness of the benefits of 360 is growing fast. "When clients say that they want to speed up development of their management team's leadership skills we almost always recommend 360-degree feedback. It's often the case, however, that they ask for it before we mention it. I would guess that 90% of companies and their leadership are aware of it and that 95% of those use some variation of it."

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